A high price tag is not the only thing that can be found in the lumber aisles of Home Depot these days.
Police were called to a Home Depot in Pennsylvania on Monday afternoon to stop “disorderly people having an exorcism” in the lumber aisle, according to a report by the New York Post.
The exorcism was for the dead trees. News of the incident began circulating around Facebook after the Dickson City Police Department posted a list of its Monday calls.
“3:26pm Commerce Blvd. @ Home Depot for disorderly people having an exorcism in the lumber isle for the dead trees. They were escorted out of the building,” the post reads.
As of Friday afternoon, the post had 254 comments and 593 shares.
“They must have saw the price of lumber,” a commenter joked.
“Does excoriated wood cost more?” another wrote.
Over the past year, skyrocketing lumber prices have been dominating headlines. The sudden price growth traces back to the onset of the pandemic and is the result of insufficient domestic production paired with growing demand and limited access to international stock. In May, Inman reported that rising lumber costs added an extra $35,872 to the price of a new single-family home.
Rising lumber prices have also slowed builder production, thus fueling this historic inventory shortage. According to the Housing Market Index by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, builder confidence in June, though still relatively high, fell to its lowest level since August 2020.
The Index marked builder confidence at 81 in June, down from 83 in April and May. As Inman reported, when the index is above 50, it signals that builders consider market conditions good rather than poor.
However, the dip in June shows high construction costs taking its toll.
“Higher costs and declining availability for softwood lumber and other building materials pushed down builder sentiment in June,” NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke said in a statement. “These higher costs have moved some new homes beyond the budget of prospective buyers, which has slowed the strong pace of home building. Policymakers need to focus on supply-chain issues in order to allow the economic recovery to continue.”
But there may be some relief on the horizon for the industry. On June 15, Inman reported that lumber prices were coming down, falling below $1,000 per thousand board feet to $996.20 on futures for July delivery. This was the first time it fell below $1,000 since late March.
“When we’re talking about the price and availability of lumber, we’re talking about housing affordability conditions,” Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told Insider back in May. “Those higher costs ultimately will dictate the amount of supply that’s available.”